New Joint Venture Will Advance Alzheimer’s Disease Research
Swoop-Med receives investment to commercialize treatments for disease
MADISON, WI, Dec. 23, 2014 – The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and Swoop Search LLC today announced an innovative joint venture aimed at more rapidly identifying and commercializing diagnostics and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
The new venture, Swoop-Med LLC, is being funded by a $1-million seed fund created by a commitment from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) and a matching commitment from the Wisconsin Technology Innovation Initiative (Wi2), a nonprofit corporation that supports medical technology commercialization by medical school students and faculty.
“Our unique public-private joint venture has the potential to dramatically affect how Alzheimer’s patients are diagnosed and treated,” said Richard L. Moss, Ph.D., senior associate dean of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “By creating a new bioinformatics approach to Alzheimer’s disease through the application of the Swoop-Med Discovery Platform to our Alzheimer’s data set, we hope to more quickly uncover relationships in the data that may lead to new ways to diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s patients.”
Swoop Search is a Madison-based information technology company. Its unique cognitive data analytics platform—enabled through its patented interface, SwoopSpace™—will be used by the joint venture to analyze data collected by the medical school’s Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute through its Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP).
WRAP is a world-renowned longitudinal data set that tracks the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The registry includes more than 1,500 people who either have one or both parents with Alzheimer’s disease or whose parents lived to old age with no signs of Alzheimer’s disease or other serious memory problems. The data is being collected over 15 to 20 years. Comparison of the data collected from the disease group with that from those without the disease could provide new clues in the search for new Alzheimer’s diagnostics and treatments.
“SwoopSpace™ is an intuitively simple user interface that powers a dynamic algorithm engine,” said Paul Bottum, Ph.D., founder and chief executive of Swoop Search LLC. “Working with researchers at the medical school’s Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, we believe we can uncover previously hidden patterns and relationships in the very complex WRAP data set more quickly and easily than before. These patterns and relationships could very well lead to the commercialization of new tools to detect and treat Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.”
Swoop Search in partnership with HP is delivering an integrated software and hardware solution to the University of Wisconsin based on the HP Moonshot server, a precision-engineered microserver that optimizes the performance of the Swoop-Med Discovery Platform and provides the needed balance of compute power and density for on-demand data processing. By leveraging energy-efficient Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technology, a dense, converged form factor and a highly flexible fabric, HP Moonshot provides high-speed connectivity between cartridges, as well as a unique balance of computing, throughput and memory.
“Today’s analytics solutions are fueling exponential demand for computer resources that can handle on demand data processing efficiently and economically,” said Paul Santeler, vice president and general manager, Moonshot, HP. “HP Moonshot supports highly parallel processing of data across 180 servers in a very dense form factor and using a unique fabric for inter-server communication and networking, making them ideal for the Swoop-Med Discovery Platform.”
Swoop-Med is the first initiative established as a result of the new seed fund created by WEDC and Wi2 to support commercialization of medical technology developed by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. The seed fund is expected to be utilized by UW-Madison researchers in several fields of medicine. WEDC’s commitment to the collaboration came through its Capital Catalyst program, which provides grants to capitalize a seed fund that provides capital to high-growth startup and emerging growth companies.
“Many families throughout Wisconsin are experiencing the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “Not only will this investment play a key role in taking our state’s outstanding research to commercialization, but it paves the way for similar important initiatives in the future.”
WEDC is working with Wi2, the UW System, business leaders and others throughout the state to remove the barriers to high-tech commercialization through its new Start-Seed-Scale (S3) initiative.
Under the S3 umbrella, WEDC and partners are implementing financial and operational assistance programs such as Capital Catalyst, which are designed specifically to address Wisconsin’s business startup and seed-funding challenges.